Now that we are a week into 2013, I want to take a look back at some of the ups-and-downs I experienced on this website and set some goals for myself in 2013.
Goals are important to set because they provide us with benchmarks for our self-perceived capabilities and put our thoughts out into the world to develop.
I apologize in advance if this seems more Riaz-centric than my other posts but I feel it is important to reflect with you so that you might reflect on your past and the year to come.
First, I want to thank you for visiting this site whether it has been this once or a hundred and once.
I want to share how this site developed and how what you are reading was not an overnight adventure but many hours behind this keyboard typing away.
I bought the domain name riazsidi.com in 2009 to put together a portfolio of my articles.
I was a recent university grad and somewhat lost in the world of adulthood.
It was right in the middle of the recession and as others in my generation know, it can be extremely difficult to not only find a job but to keep one too.
I decided to do something about this and taught myself how to create a simple website.
Also, if you don’t already know, I was a freelance journalist looking to give myself some exposure by taking the 100+ newspaper articles I had written since 1999 online with the intention of marketing myself online with a nice resume.
Although the experience of learning how to create a website for my portfolio was extremely educational and enlightening, it is never the anticipated goal that ends up being the end result or lesson for that matter.
But rather, it is the experience itself that takes you to the starting point of your next challenge.
I used it effectively to market myself but I quickly learned that a huge barrier existed for the reader: I wasn’t providing any value to others.
I was simply publishing screenshots of some mediocre and forgettable content I had written in the past that was simply in place just to give myself what I believed to be a step up from the competition.
The domain name sat with these articles, a short about me section, testimonials, and some contact information.
At the time it was great to say I did something for myself but it didn’t incentivize others to want to visit the site because it didn’t provide any valuable information that could be applied to their own lives.
So I took a new direction.
In 2010, I created a blog called BiasViewer.
This site was less self-motivated than its predecessor and provided unique content on current news events.
It had a great twist in that it gave its audience a new perspective on the status quo of current events news.
I enjoyed some successes including one article that achieved 4000 pageviews.
I was definitely proud that an audience was reading my content that I had created using strategy – keyword optimization, social bookmarking, and ethical backlinking.
The only problem this time was that traffic typically came and left never to return again.
The audience was transient.
In 2011, I acquired the domain name sociablog.net.
It was a combination of the words social and blog.
It was my intention to write about all types of effective communication skills from how to find a job, to how to sell yourself.
I started to really get engagement – lots of visitors, comments and emails with that site but it still didn’t give me the passion I was seeking when blogging.
Another problem was that the topic matter was too broad and didn’t focus on a niche with a single need.
And last year – in 2012 – it all changed.
Putting You First
I had a vision to move some of the content from sociablog.net over to riazsidi.com and to start from scratch with a new design and direction.
I made sure this time my content would be helpful to visitors, focused on one niche, and that the content would be relevant whether someone was reading it in 2012 or 2021.
And so far I am very happy with the results.
I am extremely grateful if you are reading this.
I am writing for you and not for my ego.
I am learning from feedback and receiving lots of good insight into how this site is going to evolve from your comments and emails.
The success I feel comes from writing about a topic for which I have a passion: sales and marketing.
It has helped me to keep my skills sharp, raise my game, and have a variety of experiences I never thought possible.
This blog has helped me to generate sales, to make offline connections with some very interesting individuals, and it has truly helped me to grow as a person and a sales consultant.
The reason I wanted to share the evolution of this blog with you is so that you remember that every goal comes with a lot of work – and I am not even close to growing it as much as I want; there is a lot of work ahead.
I think fear, as well as procrastination, are the two barriers that stop anyone including myself from achieving goals.
Being aware of this will definitely help me in 2013 to continue to grow this blog.
That said there will always be barriers, disappointments and we will sometimes fall short of achieving our goals.
If you have been reading this site and checking back often to see new content in December, I know I disappointed you.
But never doubt that I am learning the lesson and doing my best to give you the real value you deserve on a consistent basis.
I won’t make excuses for myself only do my best going forward to continue on the right path in 2013.
I was amazed with the amount of responses I received when I sent out an email to my subscribers early December asking what they would like to see in 2013.
I got many ideas from you on writing about how to close, focusing on social media, and how to sell oneself.
I will be applying your feedback to the direction of the site in 2013.
I am amazed by the 10,000+ pageviews and 5700 visitors I received between the launch of this site in July to the end of the year.
I am humbled by the amount of emails and comments.
There are some specific people in particular I would like to thank for making the experience of writing this blog much more than I could have ever imagined thus far:
- John Tennian for reading religiously and poking fun at some of the topics I discuss including my mumbling
- Thom Bourne, Darlene MacInnis and everyone at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa for reading and sharing my posts
- Scott Jazey for constantly filling my brain with new ideas
- Scott Vetter at Prosar for contributing so much to the Progressive Sales Strategies LinkedIn Group and keeping me on my toes by motivating me and leading by example at his blog.
- Sarah Killoran, Chris Corman at Target Fuel, Kay Kinder and Dave Francis at Francis Plumbing, Michael Swann at The Lincoln Courier, and my current and former colleagues at The Ottawa Citizen and OnPath Business Solutions respectively for the support, emails, comments and advice
- YOU and the hundreds of other people who have connected with me in one way or another from around the world as a result of this website.
A big time thank you!
There are also some important lessons I learned this year.
I wrote about how in sales we need to Learn to Shut the F*** Up and yet at times didn’t necessarily apply my own advice.
I guess maturity isn’t an overnight endeavor.
I also got banned from my University Alumni’s LinkedIn Group by ‘posting articles that contain bad language and are spam’ when I considered it to be adding value and advice to my colleagues.
I learned perception no matter how sincere you are is really everything.
In the About Page of this blog I have a bolded phrase that says the way to success is through “consistent persistence” and so this year through some work colleagues I learned that talking the talk isn’t necessarily walking the talk.
Now I try to talk less and do more.
And as I write this, I also understand that we can only look forward and not have any regrets of the past.
I am overall extremely pleased with the response I have received on the site and I want to thank you for coming to read once, twice, or every time I posted in 2012.
If you are an email subscriber, I want to thank you for opening, reading, clicking through back to the site, and in many cases responding with positive or constructive feedback.
In my offline life, I had some great milestones too.
I moved in with my girlfriend and I am happy to say I am very much in love!
And we got a little puppy named Keyli who despite my previous notion of domestic animals has been a great challenge and joy to have around.
I am also extremely happy with my job and I am privileged to be working with an excellent team who support and challenge me every step of the way.
Before I move onto the PSS goals for 2013, I want you to take a look at my 10 favourite posts from 2012.
- 4 Reasons Your Cold Call Fails in the First 5 Seconds
- Why You Should Learn to Shut the F*** Up
- Is Transparency the Ultimate Sales Tool?
- How to Control Your Emotions and Sell
- The Only Thing Stopping You From Real Success
- 3 Dead Giveaways Your Prospect is Losing Interest
- 6 Thought-Provoking Sales Mantras
- The Most Important Buying Signal in Sales
- Why You Can’t Scroll Past This Headline Without Clicking
- Can You Really Generate Sales Leads Using Social Media?
I have selected these because either I received a lot of positive feedback, pageviews or felt it helped to grow me and the blog overall.
Looking Ahead to 2013
So what is 2013 all about then for Progressive Sales Strategies?
It is an interesting time in not only sales but marketing and especially online marketing as well.
We are going through a great transformation with technology and although some traditional sales skills are still relevant, there are new innovative ways to acquire leads and to connect with potential clients.
Many of you already know that I work with businesses on a daily basis to help them to promote their business and build their brand online.
So it is an obvious resolution that I want to continue to build up my own knowledge and be open to listening and learning from colleagues and clients alike on the latest innovative digital sales and marketing trends and to share them with you.
My next resolution is to be a resource to those around me and to provide as much information and knowledge I acquire to as many people as possible.
Part of the reason for this website is to take advantage of the mass communication we have at our disposable and to touch as a many people as possible with new information.
Another resolution is for me to continue to be open to the wisdom of my elders and to absorb their experience whether positive or negative and adapt to changes in my life to honour their sacrifices.
I want to help those who do not yet have digital and technological knowledge by answering their questions not only through explanation but through practical application.
I want to be a part of a team and not a barrier for success.
I want to continue to increase my knowledge base on social media and search engine marketing and optimization – and to share this knowledge with clients, colleagues and you.
For The Progressive Sales Strategies blog, I want to continue growing in a positive direction and use different platforms to share my message with you.
Some of my goals for Progressive Sales Strategies in 2013 are:
- To write an ebook on social media, the changing online landscape and how it greatly affects you and your business and how you can authentically influence the perception others have of you and your business.
- To create a YouTube video introduction for the site, providing information using a new medium
- To create a podcast interviewing select sales and marketing experts to share their knowledge with you
- To continue building the PSS email subscriber list and adding exclusive value for your loyalty (now would be a good time to plug the subscription box on the lefthand side where you can enter your email address for free updates!)
- To help you: individuals, freelancers, sales consultants, and businesses to be fearless of the changing online landscape and support your digital evolution
I definitely have a lot to learn myself this year and I will be taking every opportunity to do so.
I will also do my best not to let fear or procrastination get the better of me.
I know this site has a lot of potential – as many of you continue to tell me – and I know it will require a lot of work.
I really appreciate you reading this very long post but I feel I have vented enough and shared enough to get this year going with a bang!
So I will ask you to comment below with the same question I sent out prior to the holidays – what would you like to see on this site in 2013?
How was 2012 for you?
What are your resolutions for 2013?
Happy New Year!
You can follow me now on Twitter @riazsidi